How to watch the Arizona State-Northern Arizona football game on Thursday night?
The how is easy — 7 p.m. on the Pac-12 Network.
The why is a little harder to answer. It’s not really a battle of titans.
And come to think of it, even the how is a bit tricky if you have DirecTV or use YouTube TV or AT&T TV or other services. The PAC-12 network’s approach to distribution has always been, shall we say, curious. It’s as if it treats itself like a rare cheese, available only to the most discerning consumers. And then once we’ve found it, it’s often stinks.
That is, the network is not available on these and some other services. But if you have Cox, DISH Network, fuboTV, Sling TV, or Vidgo, among other providers, you can connect directly.
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So if it is available for you, what are you going to watch?
Northern Arizona, a brave FCS program, taking on Arizona State, an FBS school whose hopes for the season, if you look at the predictions, look mediocre at best.
Like, really at best; some pundits picked the Sun Devils to finish last in the PAC-12; most predict they will be somewhere near the bottom.
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ASU quarterback Jayden Daniels was fun to watch. He probably still is – but he transferred to Louisiana State University, where he will ply his trade. It’s simply impossible to know what to expect, other than, if the experts are correct, some level of mediocrity.
But there are reasons to watch.
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Why should you bother watching?
The big one is simple: it’s football. And we have been without him for these many months.
It’s also fun to pretend that the start of the football season means the end of a scorching summer, but alas, we know that’s not the case in Arizona.
Still. It’s football. And that’s something. Nobody said it had to be good Soccer.
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There’s also the possibility of an upset – last season NAU beat the University of Arizona. Rooting for the underdog has been fun since the crowd cheered David as he charged his slingshot and faced Goliath. OK, I’m projecting a bit here, but you get the gist.
Then there’s the broadcast team: Roxy Bernstein and Lincoln Kennedy. Kennedy is everywhere (he’s also the Las Vegas Raiders radio show analyst). I’m not claiming that people tune in to listen to advertisers, though I guess maybe a small segment of weirdos like me do. But you could definitely do worse for a broadcast team.
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But there’s another reason, too — we may well see, over the next two seasons, the sad decline of a once-great athletic conference.
USC and UCLA have already taken the money and have shown up, or soon will, at the Big Ten Conference. (They are expected to start playing in the 2024 season.)
ASU would likely make a similar move if someone offered it. At the moment, that’s apparently a pretty big if, but who knows what’s going on behind the scenes. They are the sad crowd on the sidelines at the ball, watching everyone dance.
In the grand tradition of watching a car race to see wreckage, watching the Pac-12 tear down on its own network is kind of weird, and yet weirdly compelling. No one is causing a disaster, but when it happens right in front of you, it’s hard to look away.
The short version of all of this is that college football, sooner or later, is going to be a very different sport. ASU cannot sit on the outside watching the big conferences as the rich get richer and everyone lines up for leftovers. But for now, they’re still in the Pac mix. So maybe that’s the best reason to watch: enjoy it while you can.
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Northern Arizona University at Arizona State University
7 p.m. Thursday on the Pac-12 Network
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